Editor’s note: The insights established in this publication are solely that of the reporter and his source and do not represent any from CCN, nor Ethereum. The communication with the source has not been verified by CCN.
A source close to Ethereum Foundation decisions came to me via Skype, then encrypted means to solely arrange a phone call. When I spoke with the individual, he made several demands, including that his identity remain anonymous, as well as his approximate age, country of origin, phone number country code and other identifying measures. The conversation lasted approximately five minutes, during which he said a “plague of egomania” within crypto had led him to come forward. He claims to own a “negligible” amount of ether, and no ether classic.
He then recounted the tale of Ethereum’s search for the $55 million DAO hacker, and increasing tensions within the project.
“People close to the situation believe that an insider is responsible for the DAO theft,” he spoke quickly and deliberately. “As you may know, there are very few people in the world so familiar with the Ethereum code to pull this off.”
“There has been some discussion that perhaps the individual was a former member of the Ethereum project, someone familiar with Vitalik’s code,” he continued. “But that is seemingly becoming less and less likely.” He referenced how a current member is more likely to blame.
The source detailed how the situation has created a “tense” environment around the Ethereum project. “People are reaching out to suspects on their own, which they aren’t supposed to be doing. Everyone is still searching for hackers. There is a very thorough search going on for the hacker.”
“Vitalik has been overly positive lately,” he said. “I believe it’s the symptoms of denial and great stress. His reputation, and the reputation of his project, have been compromised. He is still quite young, perhaps you’re aware. He’s been mute on Ethereum Classic, but his closest confidants are keeping a close eye on it. There’s also been recent efforts to remove all nonEthereum members out of Ethereum communication channels, like Slack, Skype and other places. A mood of paranoia has been cast over the entire project. Everyone still thinks there could be bugs. Some people have lost trust in Vitalik. It’s a mess. I don’t think it will recover.”
Buterin has since expressed his position on Classic – without mentioning it – in a blog post today: “…We recognize that the Ethereum code can be used to instantiate other blockchains with the same consensus rules, including testnets, consortium and private chains, clones and spinoffs, and have never been opposed to such instantiations.”
The individual, who demanded to do the interview over telephone and to remain anonymous, cited tweets such as the following one as an “all-too-accurate” portrayal of where things stand.
During the phone conversation, the individual – who agreed to be described as a male – repeated multiple times that he did not consent to be recorded.
“I do not believe the Ethereum project will survive much longer,” he insisted. “The internal dynamics are a mess, and people are beginning to worry about the legal implications of the code change. People are learning the truth, it seems.”
Update: A public Twitter post included in the write-up has been removed at the behest of the poster.
Images from Shutterstock and Ethereum.